Session Type: Poster Session (Monday)
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: There is a gender gap – that is, proportionately more male than female physicians – across most medical specialties in Canada and the U.S. despite the current gender parity in medical school. Limited numbers of role models, sponsors, and mentors may contribute. A lack of women leaders and representation in certain specialties may perpetuate the gap further. A goal of attaining equal (or as close to equal as possible) representation at national conferences is essential.
Recent studies have quantified the gender gap among speakers at academic conferences. The largest study of 181 medical conferences held in North America over one decade found an increase in the proportion of female speakers from 25 to 34% over time, and that the underrepresentation of women was more marked at surgical compared to medical conferences [Ruzycki, et al 2019]. The purpose of our study was to describe the proportion of female representation among speakers and moderators at the ACR meeting over the past two years.
Methods: Using the ACR Session Tracker from 2017 and 2018, we determined the proportions of women for each speaker or moderator slot. Individual speakers could be counted multiple times. We further categorized by basic versus clinical science presentation, and by type of session (pre-meeting, ACR general session, AHRP general session, abstracts, workshop, study group, or Meet the Professor).
Results: Overall, the proportion of combined female speakers and moderators was 42.8% in 2017 and 47.0% in 2018. The representation of female speakers increased from 2017 to 2018 by 4.2%, which in a conference of approximately 1100 presenters (total presenters at the 2018 conference) amounts to 46.2 persons. There were a greater proportion of female speakers in the clinical than in the basic science presentations (average 45.8% versus 40.5%). By session type, the AHRP sessions had the highest proportion of female representation (average 65.3%) while Meet the Professor and workshops had the lowest (34.4% and 28.7%, respectively).
Conclusion: The overall mean proportion of female speakers and moderators at ACR in the past two years was 44.9%. Compared to a prior study, the ACR had female representation slightly above the mean compared to major North American medical conferences held in 2017. This proportion is also comparable to the estimated U.S. adult rheumatology workforce data from 2015. Although the gender gap at recent ACR meetings was narrower as compared to other conferences, we must remain cognizant of its presence and continue to work towards equal representation.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Monga K, Liew J. #WomeninRheumatology: Is There a Speaker Gender Gap at ACR Meetings? [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/womeninrheumatology-is-there-a-speaker-gender-gap-at-acr-meetings/. Accessed February 28, 2020.
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ACR Meeting Abstracts - https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/womeninrheumatology-is-there-a-speaker-gender-gap-at-acr-meetings/